Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is a hive queenless? What to look for

Below is a list of things to watch for if trying to determine if a hive is queenless. 

Keep in mind there can be other circumstances which give the behaviours as well.

For example, bees can be antsy, aggressive and sting if they're upset from predation activity such as robbing, or skunks or racoon attacks.  And brood cells can be filled with nectar if the hive doesn't have enough supers.

No queen:
  • All the cells where brood should be are filled with nectar during the flow times and no brood in the hive
  • Antsy and aggressive behaviour with stinging when opening or inspecting the hive
  • Bees running and buzzing with anxiety when inner cover opened
  • No pollen going in
  • No eggs or young brood
  • Population decrease
  • Decrease in activity
  • No cleaning in the hive, removal of garbage
  • No guarding (when population is really low)
  • Put your ear on the hive and listen.  If there is anxious buzzing that can be a sign of queenlessness.

Have a queen:
  • Calm
  • Good hum - like a nice machine sound - rhythmic and relaxing sound.  You can put your ear on the hive and listen. The sound of a queenless have has notes of anxiety in the hum and doesn't sound relaxing,
  • Pollen going in
  • Population increasing
  • Good activity on the outside with bees coming and going
  • Guarding entrances and washboarding entrances
  • Cleaning and doing chores such as removal of dead bees and garbage

1 comment: said...

It was vitally important to know all the pros and cons of having a queen and not having! Having measured all advantages and disadvantages I now came to conclusion that it is worth having a queen!